Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Five Great Chesapeake Bay Trails for Kids

 Back Bay National Wildlife
Refuge. Photo courtesy
USFWS.
Kids will love the ocean views, water-free trails through bald cypress swamps, and an enchanted forest that lay in Virginia's Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States. Here are five trails area trails perfect for children:
g Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Bay Trail – Leading from the Visitor Contact Station to Back Bay, the 0.4-mile trail crosses a variety of ecosystems, from shrubland to marshes.
g False Cape State Park: Barbour Hill Interpretative Trail – This easy 1.4-mile trail cuts across a barrier spit between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, offering an opportunity to see a variety of wildlife and plants.
g First Landing State Park: Bald Cypress Trail – Boardwalks and observation platforms abound on this 1.5-mile loop trail that heads around and through a bald cypress swamp and forest-covered dunes.
g Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge: Boardwalk Trail – The interpretative and elevated Boardwalk Trail runs almost a mile through a representative section of the Great Dismal, allowing hikers to spot a variety of birds.
g Norfolk Botanical Garden: Enchanted Forest's woodland trail – For those preferring to stay closer to the city, the short, circular woodland trail through the Enchanted Forest garden takes kids through a secluded patch of mature oak, hickory, and pine.

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes.